Sep 25, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) hits a two run single in the eighth inning of their game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
This is the first round of the mock draft I set up on Feb. 28. This was a 10-team draft set up on Fantasy Pros’ mock draft simulator tool. I chose the fourth pick. The No. 1 pick was obvious and I wanted to something close to back-to-back picks in rounds 2 and 3, 4 and 5, and so on. Rounds 1-10 will have their own articles and I will talk about each pick. The last 15 rounds will be separated in groups of five.
Here is the first round.
1.1 OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
This is a no-brainer. Trout is the best player in the league. He rewards his fantasy owners by providing stats in all five categories. If you pass on Trout, you must be in a pitchers-only league.
1.2 SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafting Kershaw in the first round wasn’t a surprise. Seeing him as the No. 2 overall pick was. I thought he would have been picked in the second half of the round. He is undoubtedly the best pitcher in the league. If you own Kershaw, you don’t need to select another pitcher for a first round.
1.3 OF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
McCutchen has quickly risen up the ranks in fantasy drafts. With speed, power and the ability to get on base, McCutchen will finish as a top-five player again. His stolen bases were down from previous seasons, but can easily get back to 20+ on 2015. If he can repeat his .410 OBP, McCutchen will lead his fantasy owners to glory.
1.5 1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt will likely be the No. 1 first baseman taken in all drafts. He’s younger and healthier with the same skills as a former top-three pick. He provides owners with good stats in four of the five hitter categories. Despite playing in only 109 games, he hit 19 home runs with a .300 average. He will hit 30+ in a full season.
1.6 1B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Health will be Cabrera’s biggest hurdle in 2015. I picked him with the second overall pick in my draft last season. He didn’t have the same power as he did over the previous four seasons. From 2010-2013, he hit 38, 30, 44 and 44 home runs. He hit 25 last year. While 25 isn’t anything to scoff at, it wasn’t worth the No. 2 pick. If he can stay healthy, Cabrera will be a steal at No. 6.
1.7 OF Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers
Gomez, along with Trout and McCutchen, is a five-category player. He had 163 hits, 23 of them were home runs, with 73 RBI, 34 stolen bases and a .284 batting average. This is the perfect spot for Gomez to be selected. There are better options to be had above him, but not much better.
1.8 1B Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
I am surprised Abreu fell this low. I can see why someone would wait, though. As a rookie, Abreu sent 36 balls over the fence and drove 107 runner home. The risk is can he do it again. Abreu was very consistent throughout the season, so it’s hard to see any sort of drop off. With the first base position very shallow, might as well jump on one of the best power hitters.
1.9 OF Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
Despite having an injury-prone tag over the last couple of seasons, Bautista is still one of the highly sought after hitters in the league. In 2014, he hit 35 home runs with 103 RBI and a .283 average. He can do everything at the plate and, as long as he remains healthy, Bautista will be a top-10 hitter.
1.10 1B Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Encarnacion’s power has seen a big uptick over the last three years. His home-run totals were 42, 36, 34 in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. Protected by his teammates in a loaded lineup and a friendly park in Rodgers Centre, Encarnacion is one of the best power hitters in the league.